Thank you also from me for the good wishes, RES-can. I confess I'm among those who feel more worried about the future of our nation now than at any other time I can remember. But at the same time, it's good to know that all of you are out there, not
ranting and not
spreading anger and hate. I still hope that most Americans will defend values like freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and the right to vote, if it really comes to that.
A special thank you to Solitudinarian and any others in the forum who serve or have served in the armed forces, as well as to their spouses and families. It seems an unfortunate paradox that even in this age of instant electronic communication and social media, we civilians nevertheless seem somehow more shielded, more cut off, from the military than in previous wars where there was still the draft and fewer jobs were done by contractors, so that a much higher proportion of the population had some personal connection to someone in the service. Even though with the prospect of armed conflict in so many places now getting worse rather than better, we may be depending on them more than ever, and sooner rather than later.
We hear a few illegal firecrackers every year in the neighborhood, but not that many. Quite a few of our neighbors actually seem to be military or ex-military, which you might think would make them more law-abiding than the average person by temperament. (Or maybe not so much ...) Though we are nowhere near 90% flags; a house or two on each block flies a flag daily year-round, but on patriotic holidays it's only a few more than that. (I could have gotten ours out, I suppose, but I'm afraid it's buried under other boxes in the attic.)
Thanks especially to Jurist for the fireworks-smuggling story. Those were the innocent days.
I enjoyed it as a child when my granddad would set off a few fireworks at his house out in the country, for me and sometimes my cousins. (Here most cities don't allow them, but most counties do, so you only have to go outside the city limits.) I was scared to death to hold a Roman candle (and as we now know, it was probably not a good idea, since if something goes wrong your hand can get blown off), but proud when I finally did it, and the 'whump' when each ball shot out was very satisfying. I even miss the sparklers, waving them around in the dark, writing your name in a sparkling trail. Maybe next year I'll actually get some sparklers.
We celebrated, as usual in recent years, by sitting on the couch and watching fireworks on TV. Unfortunately the PBS special from DC is being more and more taken over by cheesy pop, rock, and country music -- not even a token classical artist this year, so we mostly left the sound off. But the last part of the New York fireworks display on NBC had some nice and fairly traditional music, with songs just sung straight and not belted. The 1812 overture seemed a little jarring this year with the Russian text, but Sousa marches are still always good fun. (I wondered if the 'Washington Post' march might even have been a tribute to the newspaper, still battling bravely this year.)
After that, the classical-music radio station had choral Americana -- not one of my most favorite genres, but still some nice moments such as a couple of Frost poems set by Randall Thompson. And a piece I wasn't familiar with by Howard Hanson, a setting of two excerpts by Whitman, of which the second was a little more stirring than the first.
May our ship of democracy indeed sail on, and leave no one behind.